Earlier today, I was able to attend an online conference put on by the good people at Atlus. The subject of the meeting? 3D Dot Game Heroes for PS3.

For those of you who might not be familiar, 3D Dot Game Heroes is essentially a loving homage to the original Legend of Zelda. Not Twilight Princess, not that new one with the train, or even anything on a 16-bit system…no, we’re talking old, old-school 8-bit Zelda. The original, groundbreaking stuff.

If you’re old enough to remember the very first excursion to Hyrule, then imagine that replicated in 3D and my work here is basically done. If you’re not old enough to remember, or for some bizarre reason owned an NES but never played it (FREAK!) then keep reading.

Large overworld? Check. Screen-by-screen movement? Check. Puzzle-filled dungeons with large bosses at the end? Check. Hidden areas, upgrades, and magical swords? Check.

3D Dot Game Heroes is not just a love letter to Zelda, though. For starters, the character editor feature looks endlessly entertaining. Although the game comes with several stock images the player can use for their avatar, they can also go their own route and create whatever they want, pixel-by-pixel. (3D or 2D!) In fact, although such action is not endorsed by Atlus, it seems quite possible to re-create pixel-perfect representations of Mario, Mega Man, Simon Belmont, or just about any other 8-bit character that comes to mind. That in itself is worth the price of admission, if you ask me.

Character editor aside, I do want to say that from the portion we saw being displayed, it seems the game is more than capable of standing on its own in terms of providing a solid adventure capable of being enjoyed by anyone—regardless of their familiarity with the source of inspiration. There's just something really satisfying and wholesome about the kind of play available here. Although I wasn't too excited for the title reading about it and watching videos, after the walk-through today, I have to admit that I was more than ready to jump in and start playing. This is definitely one going to be keeping an eye on.

For those of you who care about such factoids, here is some information provided by Atlus:

A basic run-through will take approximately 12 hours on the standard difficulty.

Japanese DLC and new art screens are included on the disc for the US release.

A HDD install feature has been added.

The game is EXCLUSIVELY on PS3, confirmed.

Retail price will be $39.99, release date of 5/11/2010, Rated E +10

(…And yeah, I’m a shameless shill for Atlus right now. So what? The game still looks cool.)

Brad Gallaway
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